The Decisions, Assessment and Risk Special Interest Group (DARSIG)

Aims of DARSIG
The aims of the Decisions, Assessment and Risk Special Interest Group of the European Social Work Research Association are to support the development of research on decision making, assessment and risk in social work and to promote the use of research on these topics to inform practice, management and teaching in the profession.

Objectives of DARSIG
Within Europe, in relation to decision making, assessment and risk in social work:
1. to develop research capacity and learning opportunities;
2. to facilitate the development and application of research methods;
3. to develop collaboration in research and theory development;
4. to facilitate collaboration in presentations, publications, and teaching materials; and
5. to develop knowledge that will inform practice, management, regulation and teaching.

Indicative Scope of DARSIG
A Professional judgement including reflective practice; models of cognitive judgement, heuristics and rationality; use of various types of knowledge; judgements in uncertainty; and bias.
B Decision processes with clients, families, other professionals, systems and organisations; social work roles in court decisions; collaborative and contested decisions; shared decision making; and assessment of decisional capacity.
C Assessment tools and interactive processes, including screening, diagnosis and problem solving; assessing needs, strengths and risks; actuarial and intuitive approaches to predicting harm; and mitigating and moderating factors.
D Assessing and managing risk, including conceptualisation, communication and legal aspects; organisational processes; positive risk taking; and societal context.
E Ethical, legal, emotional and contextual aspects of decision making, assessment and risk, including regret; stigma; and the relationship to professional, personal and societal values.
F Learning about professional judgement, decisions, assessment and risk including use of knowledge (evidence), professional supervision, and education and training activities.

The Annual Coordination Meeting of DARSIG takes place at the annual European Conference on Social Work Research (ECSWR). DARSIG has a web presence as part of the ESWRA website, and has a Facebook page and Twitter feed so as to provide more immediate communication. Members of the group are encouraged to collaborate in joint presentations at ECSWRs, joint research grants and joint publications. DARSIG runs a Pre-Conference Event at each ECSWR, and supports members in collaborating in putting on Symposia, Workshops, Oral Presentations and Posters at ECSWRs. DARSIG now plans to facilitate greater collaboration between members, and to develop activities between ECSWR events. Further information about DARSIG is included in: Taylor BJ, Killick C, Bertotti T, Enosh G, Gautschi J, Hietamäki J, Sicora A & Whittaker A (2017) European Social Work Research Association SIG to study decisions, assessment and risk. Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work, 15(1), 82-94. doi:10.1080/23761407.2017.1394244.

Brian Taylor, Convenor
Campbell Killick, Deputy Convenor (including Recruitment)
Mary Baginsky, Co-Convenor: Communications

Andrew Whittaker, Co-Convenor: Symposia

Frank Cloyd Ebsen, Co-Convenor: Pre-Conference Event 2020.

A monthly emailing is sent out to DARSIG members by the Co-Convenor: Communications. If you wish to join DARSIG and be added to the mailing list please follow the instructions below.


DARSIG members discuss issues via Facebook. Members will be sent an invitation to join the closed Facebook group.